It is no secret that I have struggled with believing in the tenants of Christianity for some time now. I am stuck in a juxtaposed mindset where on the one hand I believe in the life/teachings, crucifixion/death, and resurrection of the man called Jesus from the town of Nazareth whose followers believed him to be the Messiah, Christ figure of Old Testament prophecies.
Then on the other hand I am bombarded by scientific inquiry that contradicts Biblical teachings, neurological and psychological research, geologic evidences, paleontological evidences, etc… which paint a different picture of our world than what Christians are dogmatically taught and have been taught for thousands of years.
Christianity is the best answer for social and relational interaction that I have found, and yet it is hard to swallow in light of new discoveries.
I have talked to many Christian friends in similar struggles who are not sure what they believe any longer or they have just not followed through with exercising their faith for one reason or another. They still are ‘decent’ people in cultural Christianity’s terms, but the church and their faith are not jiving, and even dying in most cases. We, as a group of professing believers, have given in to justifying our behaviors by comparing ourselves with those in the society we live in.
Or is it as simple as what Gary Habermas suggest? Does it really only boil down to one question?
What do you believe and do with the person of Jesus Christ?
Can I believe in the person and work of Jesus as described in the various canonized Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), but still hold to views that contradict the Bible? Would I no longer be a Christian if I did that?
If Jesus is who the disciples claimed he is, then that belief demands actions. It demands a life of obedience in living out the commands of God – love God with all that I am by observing his commandments (which are not burdensome and should delight my soul as I practice them in faith) and love other people like I love myself. Then when I live that out I will verbally and physically be testifying to all I come into contact with that I am a slave to this Jesus of Nazareth, to the words of his teachings as found in the Biblical text, and that I put all things in the world under this worldview.
But then you watch something like Nova’s special on the Hubble Space Telescope and you find out that the world is expanding and that it is calculated at 13.7 billion years old, and you find out how many millions of galaxies are in space, and that starts creeping you out a little bit. The odds of earth being the only place with life on it are slim to none. Some argue that intelligent life will not be found from a statistical standpoint, but who really knows? Let’s consider two statements:
1. Based on mathematical calculations by two independent teams who were working with data captured from the Hubble Space Telescope they both found the earth to be 13.7 billions year old. (reference PBS documentary here)
2. Using a literal interpretation of the creation story coupled with genealogies found throughout the Bible yields a young earth theory of 6,000 to 8,000 years old.
Can both statements be true? In the grand scheme of things mankind is not the sharpest tool in the shed. After all, we still willingly kill each other in sanctioned wars, planned homicides, and through corporations who hide their products failures knowing that it will cause some deaths – but they believe they can still hide it. So I guess an important question to ask is, can we trust science?
I believe we can trust science but not the scientist. As I always push on my blogs: read the evidence for yourself. If you can’t understand it then read at least two different interpretations of the data, or multiple interpretations that mirror each other.
For now, I plan on continuing to read, study, interpret, and live life as best as I know how. Hopefully you will do the same.